Travelling by air can add to the thrill of adventuring off to a new destination, but not all flight experiences are pleasurable. Sometimes it’s good to know what you are in for before stepping aboard.
I have compiled a list of the airlines that I have personally travelled on to give my own first-hand flight reviews, both good and bad, to give you an insight of what to potentially expect.
*Please note that all reviews here are based on travel in economy class.
AIR CANADA REVIEW
Being from Canada myself, Air Canada is our largest and flagship airline. Founded in 1937, Air Canada flys to over 81 international and 21 domestic destinations with its fleet of 168 aircraft.
I have personally flown with Air Canada the most out of any airline, both on long haul and short domestic flights. But sadly, my experience with this airline has been less than stellar.
Regardless if you are flying a short little hour flight, or from Newfoundland to Britsh Columbia, you are not offered any complimentary meals on domestic flights. All meals and snacks are available to be purchased.
However, you are offered water, coffee/tea and juice at no cost.
DELAYS AND BROKEN PLANES
Almost every time that I fly with Air Canada, there is a delay due to mechanical issues. One time, I had to wait for another plane to come in so we could take that plane, rather than the one we were supposed to fly on.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather have delays than have the airline take the risk of flying a faulty plane, but it just seems that there are a lot of issues their fleets of aircraft.
Maybe it’s because they are the main airline of Canada and considering what little you get on your flights, they are pretty expensive to fly on compared to other airlines.
Not everything that I have to say about Air Canada is bad. In fact, the flight attendants were excellent and the flight experience was superb. The in-flight entertainment had a large selection of movies to choice from (on flights large enough to have screens) which made my travel experience with them delightful.
Another Canadian-based company, Sunwing is Canada’s low-cost budget airline which services over 73 destinations with its fleet of only 18 aircraft.
Partnered with travel booking giants Signature Vacations and Selloffvations, Sunwing primarily flies to the U.S., Caribbean, Central and South America, as well as domestically around Canada.
I have flown on Sunwing a few times on my trips to the Caribbean, and it was an all-around pretty good experience.
I personally loved the food on Sunwing airlines. I’m not a picky eater, but I do know the difference between bland airplane food and moderately more tasty food. I really enjoyed how they offered smoked meat sandwiches rather than the usual alfredo pasta and beef with potato options which most airlines offer in economy class.
Beverages were offered with the meals and afterwards and you were offered a complimentary glass of champagne. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase by either cash or credit card.
DELAYS AND BROKEN PLANES
So far, my experience with Sunwing has been 50/50 for delays and being on schedule. I once waited in a Cuban airport for 6 hours waiting for our plane to be “ready to board”, without any notification that it was delayed or any reason why it was delayed. It was even listed on the Pearson International Airport “Arrivals” list as being on time. Good thing we were able to call the people who were planning on picking us up at the airport to let them know we would be late.
However, Sunwing does offer you a $50 gift certificate towards future travel with then when you put in a complaint about delays.
Since Sunwing is partnered with different travel booking sites, I have never actually just booked a flight with them to go somewhere – it was always been apart of an all-inclusive trip which included airfare and hotel.
With that being said, I can’t imagine that they are a pricy airline since I have never paid more than $1400 for an all-inclusive package and that was travelling to a higher end island – St. Maarten.
I’ve never had any complaints with the service on my flights with Sunwing. The entertainment has always been great with up-to-date movies either on the back on the seat or a shared screen, depending on the size and age of the plane.
A side from the occasional lengthy delay, I have always thoroughly enjoyed traveling on Sunwing and have a pretty good experience.
Starting off as another budget airline only 20 years ago, Westjet has become the second largest Canadian airline flying more than 425 flights per day to 91 destinations with it’s fleet of 118 air crafts.
I have only personally flown with Westjet a few times on short flights, so my reviews are limited to my two good experiences, along with what I’ve heard from booking flights for others.
Westjet is usually the go-to airline when booking a domestic flight around Canada or into the U.S. Their prices are pretty decent and they travel to most destinations within North America.
I found the flight attendants to be very friendly and they offered a variety of snacks and beverages for purchase (again, I have only flown short 1.5 hour flights with them). The movie selection was amazing and the seats were cozy leather seats.
AIR TRANSAT REVIEWS
Operating as another Canadian vacation-destination airline, Air Transat flies to 83 destinations around the U.S., Caribbean, Mexico, central America and certain places in Europe.
Being another partnered airline with travel booking sites, I’ve flown with Air transat mostly to the Caribbean and I have yet to have a bad experiences or delays with this airline.
I have only flown with Air Transat as a charter airline, and have not booked a scheduled flight with them yet. My flight cost was always incorporated in with my vacation package, so I can imagine it was not a lot.
I have looked into booking with them to go to Amsterdam, and the price was lower than the other Canadian airlines going to the same destination.
The meals on my flights with Air Transat were the usual north American meals offered: alfredo pasta and a beef and potato dish, bun, salad and piece of fudge or cookie.
You were offered a complimentary glass of champagne, juice, water, coffee and tea, and alcoholic beverages were available for purchase.
Again, amazing customer service with very pleasant and friendly staff, great selection of entertainment. Headphones were offered for purchase though.
I have experienced very turbulent flights whilst flying with this airline (not the airline’s fault mind you, but the flight path needed to be taken), and the pilots did an amazing job of getting us out of any nerve-racking weather.
AVIANCA AIRLINE REVIEWS
The Flag carrier of Colombia, second largest in all of Latin America and the second oldest airline in the world, Avianca serves over 122 destinations with it’s fleet of 98 aircrafts.
I just have just recently flown with this airline, and after taking 4 wonderful flights with Avianca, it has become my #1 favorite airline to fly with.
Either I landed a pretty sweet deal or the prices are just amazing with this airline, but I paid only $540USD to fly from Toronto to Lima, Peru return.
Considering it was over 9 hours of flying, I’ve paid close to that to fly a small fraction of the distance that I covered going to Peru when flying with different Canadian airlines.
I found the meals to be decent for airplane food. We were served the usual pasta or beef and potato dishes. On the 5 hour flight, we were given heated up ham and cheese sandwiches.
The beverage chart came out with the meals and all alcoholic beverages were FREE! Maybe I’m just a newbie to the whole “free-alcohol” service offered on different airlines, but it was amazing for me being that it was the first time I didn’t have to pay for a cervesa onboard.
The customer service on this airline was hands-down amazing! The flight attendants were very helpful when I couldn’t get the screen to work, they always brought us more drinks whenever we needed and offered blankets on our redeye flight.
The entertainment was superb. There were T.V. shows, games for kids and adults and a huge list of new movies and music to choose from.